It began in France in 1940 during turbulent times, founded by a Brother Roger Schutz, who was not a member of a Catholic community.

What I’m referring to is the Taize monastic community, which derives its name from the town of Taize, France. A worldwide ecumenical movement, Taize services have flourished at places like Unity Temple in Oak Park and St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church in LaGrange. Usually held monthly on Friday evenings, the services consist of music, meditation and scripture reading.

St. Mary Church in Riverside will host its first Taize service this month. It was brought to the attention of the parish’s pastor, Father Thomas May, by Riverside resident Judy Panzetta.

She has been instrumental in introducing the prayer service, which is scheduled at St. Mary Church, 126 Herrick Road, on Friday, April 19. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the church when Michael Silhavy, music director at the parish, will give a talk on the origin and history of Taize.

The actual prayer service will begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by refreshments in the parish’s Oak Room. Father May has invited Dr. Jennifer Fisher, the new pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in Riverside, to assist him in conducting the service and the reading of scriptures.

The reception following the service will provide an opportunity to meet Fisher and extend a welcome to the community. Ascension Lutheran is Pastor Fisher’s second assignment, having served previously as an associate at a church in Bartlett.

Fisher formerly was in the business world before embarking upon this new phase in her journey through life, which eventually brought her to Riverside. She looks forward to becoming more acquainted with the community and admits to the fact that she is still navigating her way around Riverside.

When asked if she was familiar with the Taize movement, she said she was aware of it and had never attended a service prior to this so she, along with many of us, will have a new experience.

Panzetta is very enthusiastic about the Taize service and stresses that is an ecumenical service, open to all. One does not have to attend both the 6:30 program and the 7:30 service. It is not known whether the church will have more Taize services, but information will be available on other venues upon request.

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